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Ethnographies of surveillance: a methodological conversation I 
Deniz Yonucu (Newcastle University)
Vita Peacock (King's College London)
Rune Steenberg (Palacky University in Olomouc)
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Deniz Yonucu (Newcastle University)
Catarina Frois (ISCTE-IUL)
Lanyon Building (LAN), 01/002 CR & CC
Friday 29 July, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

This panel explores the range of methodological challenges raised by the ubiquitization of surveillance technologies across the world. How should anthropology adapt to this large-scale socio-technical transformation in the service of political hope?

Long Abstract:

We have been witnessing an unprecedented development of new surveillance technologies going hand-in-hand with the ever-increasing digitalisation of the past decade. Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this transition, incentivising surveillance and paving the way for the use of experimental surveillance tools. Furthermore, the rise of 'participatory' surveillance enabled by the ubiquity of smartphones, fractures older analyses that view surveillance through the lens of clear power asymmetries, and opens up new questions around complicity and consent, as well as the potentials for subversion and resistance.

This panel explores the growing methodological challenges that this transformation raises for anthropology. We invite papers that consider these challenges conceptually or pragmatically. As anthropologists in the field of surveillance studies, we ask: how far can imported terms such as synopticism or dataveillance enable the work of ethnography, and how far can established frameworks be stretched? What innovative research tools can be used to study surveillance - whether technical applications or devices or new kinds of positionality? We also seek to consider fundamental questions about how this transformation alters the very conditions of anthropological knowledge production, foreclosing twentieth-century modalities and yielding novel ones, as well as posing new ethical dilemmas and existential risks.

In the light of this transformation the present becomes an important moment to refashion prevailing conditions in the service of political hope. How can ethnography amplify human efforts towards 'commoning' such as counter-surveillance, sousveillance, and digital counter-publics, that seek to disaggregate existing monopolies at this historical fork in the road?

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -